My Internship at KPMG: A Q&A with Megan Vuong
The Australian Financial Review recently published an article titled “Taking Steps to Produce a Job-Ready Generation” which listed the University of Adelaide as a finalist in the Most Employable Students Award, and also listed KPMG as a finalist in the Most Popular Internship Employer (large) Award.
Developing student employability is a big focus for the University of Adelaide. The University is actively preparing students for the workplaces of tomorrow through technology-supported, collaborative and inquiry-based approaches. Building capabilities and creating a vast range of opportunities for students is how the University of Adelaide is preparing job-ready graduates.
Considering both the University of Adelaide and KPMG were recognised as leaders in their fields, we saw this as a great opportunity to speak to fourth year University of Adelaide student, Megan Vuong, who recently completed an internship at KPMG. We spoke about to her about the internship experience, how her studies at the University of Adelaide have helped prepare her for the workforce, and what skills are necessary for success.
Here’s what she had to say.
What sparked your interest in applying for an internship at KPMG?
My interest in KPMG was sparked when I volunteered at the 2019 Careers Expo. I had the opportunity to talk to recruiters and employers from various firms and the last firm I spoke with was KPMG. I spoke to a young lady who had just graduated. It was her passion and authenticity that caught my attention and is exactly why I chose KPMG. It inspired me in terms of how I hope to speak about my future career and surround myself with a culture that shares the same enthusiasm.
What was the process of getting the internship?
A long and rigorous one – there are six stages!
Here’s a quick summary of the main stages:
Like any typical application the first step is to fill in the online form and ensure you have your resume and transcript handy.
2. Cognitive Test
Tests consists of questions that relate to verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning under time pressure.
3. Online Interview
This is a one-way video interview. Applicants are asked five questions and must record and submit their responses, all within a time limit.
4. Assessment Centre
If you’re invited to the assessment day, you’re halfway there! The assessment centre involves a group case study. Groups are provided with discussion time and then required to make a presentation. Assessors are evaluating applicant’s soft skills and looking for those who can work well in a team.
5. Face-to-face Interview
This is your time to shine. Sell yourself, your achievements and your career aspirations through your education, work experience and extracurricular activities.
6. Offer and Acceptance
Applicants are notified within days of the assessment centre and interview whether they have been successful, all that’s left is to accept your offer and celebrate!
What kind of activities have you done as part of the internship?
I had the opportunity to work on a variety of tasks for different clients. Some of my tasks involved tax research and advisory, preparing tax returns, profit & loss statements and balance sheets, writing client emails, creating visuals to represent group structures and payroll calculations. Not only was I exposed to a wide range of activities, but I also attended meetings, training sessions and social functions.
What have you learned from your internship that will make you a job-ready graduate once you have completed your degree?
Often people get caught up in the technical side of things and yes, don’t get me wrong, they’re important to a successful career. But what I’ve learned from my internship is that a person’s ability to communicate and make meaningful relationships is more valued in the job market. So if you aren’t particularly skilled technically, you can still land the job by demonstrating excellent interpersonal skills and that you’re a good fit for culture. Employers don’t put too much emphasis on technical skills as they’re fully aware that most graduates have very little real-world experience and exposure; instead, they look for candidates who possess the baseline skills and therefore, have great learning potential.
“Diversity of thinking” has been identified as a desirable quality in a job-ready graduate. What does diversity of thinking mean to you?
Diversity of thinking is the idea that our thinking is shaped by our background, culture, personalities and experiences. Bringing together people who think differently from one another – for example, detail-orientated thinkers and goal-orientated thinkers, or creative thinkers and analytical thinkers – can create variations in perspectives, as well as stimulate new ideas and enhance team performance.
What skills have you learned from the University of Adelaide that has helped you during your internship?
University is the perfect time to practice and develop your skills. I’ve developed my interpersonal skills by interacting with a range of people, whether it be through group assignments, class presentations or involvement in university. The ability to communicate with different types of people and articulate my ideas has helped me communicate with my work colleagues, clients and customers during my time at KPMG. University has also allowed me to practice my time management skills. Juggling university, part-time/casual jobs and extracurricular activities has helped me prioritize and balance various projects and time frames when I was given multiple responsibilities during my internship.
In your opinion, what is the University of Adelaide doing to produce job-ready graduates?
The university is providing opportunities and opening doors! It’s just a matter of students making the most of these opportunities!
What advice would you give to University of Adelaide students looking for internship opportunities?
Don’t let the fear of rejection hold you back! Put yourself out there, throw yourself into the university lifestyle and get involved in clubs, societies, volunteering, extracurriculars, internships, and part-time/casual jobs. Most importantly, remember that if you’re unsuccessful, every application, every interview, every assessment centre, every recruiting process you undertake are some of the most valuable learning experiences you will come across.
About Megan Vuong
Student & Learning Enhancement Officer
Megan is a fourth year University of Adelaide student who is currently undertaking a double degree in Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) and Bachelor of Laws. After completing her studies, Megan hopes to work at an accounting firm.
Interested in an Internship?
Find out more about Internship opportunities here.